Sex Roles

, Volume 28, Issue 1–2, pp 1–18 | Cite as

Gender differences in conversation topics, 1922–1990

  • Katherine Bischoping


Gender differences in conversation topics were first systematically studied in 1922 by Henry Moore, who theorized that the gender differences in topic choice he observed in a field observation study would persist over time, as they were manifestations of men's and women's “original natures.” In this paper, I report a 1990 replication of Moore's study, in which similar but smaller gender differences in topic choice are found. In order to explore further the apparent trend toward smaller gender differences, reports of quantitative observation studies conducted between 1922 and 1990 are examined. Other explanations besides change over time—such as variations in conversation setting and audience, target populations, and researcher's intentions—may account for the decline in gender differences in topic choice. Social influences are seen more clearly in the discourse about gender differences in conversation than in gender differences in conversation topics themselves.


Gender Difference Social Psychology Field Observation Target Population Social Influence 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine Bischoping
    • 1
  1. 1.Survey Research Center, Institute for Social ResearchThe University of MichiganAnn Arbor

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